Girl Unknown is a psychological thriller which focuses on the family dynamics when a secret comes to light.

Girl Unknown by Karen Perry
Girl Unknown describes the family dynamics when a secret comes to light.

Author: Karen Perry

Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 1 December 2016

Language: English

Pages: 384

Country: Ireland

Rating: 3/5

Families don’t just come apart because a thread has loosened. The break when it comes is sharp, brutal. It takes ripping and hacking to tear the tapestry apart.”

It took me a long time to read Girl Unknown and I had to ponder quiet a bit before writing this book review. Mainly because this is not your usual psychological thriller. This is my first book of Karen Perry. I felt it leaned more towards family drama then psychological thriller.

The story begins when David Connolly, a university professor, is approached by Zoe Barry- a first year student. She tells him she is his daughter. David is left reeling and his family life is turned upside-down. As Zoe becomes more entangled in their lives, the whole family struggles to make sense of her. Her stories don’t add up and Caroline, David’s wife, is determined to discover who this girl really is. But no one could have expected where it all might end. Because they have let into their home a girl they don’t know. And now everything they have built has begun to break apart.

Girl Unknown is more of a family drama which explores the larger family dynamics. It is more about the characters, their thoughts and the drama that starts after Zoe is introduced to David’s family. There are a lot of gray areas in Girl Unknown. It has nothing happy within it but there is no excruciating sadness as well. Unfortunately I was expecting a gripping psychological thriller but Girl Unknown lacked the punch.

I felt some parts of the novel to be far-fetched. However, the characters felt real, specially David. He is torn between believing his wife and trusting Zoe. He has his doubts like a normal person but he also wishes that Zoe is telling the truth. This duality of thoughts was portrayed well by Karen Perry. From a psychological perspective, The Girl Unknown shows that one person can’t make your life difficult if your relationship is strong and healthy. Zoe’s manipulations succeed in driving a wedge in the family because the relationship between David and Caroline is already flawed and imperfect.

There were quiet a few twists but they failed to create any effect. The ending however, could be shocking for some, is the highlight of Girl Unknown. You can even guess it if you pay attention to the little details. This novel is great for readers who enjoy reading light thrillers.


Note: Karen Perry is the pen-name of Karen Gillece and Paul Perry, a duo who live in Ireland.